People

Maurice Foster

Past Chair of the RHS Rhododendron, Camellia and Magnolia Group, longtime and now Honorary Member of the RHS Woody Plant Committee, Trustee of the Tree Register of Britain and Ireland (TROBI), formerly on the committee of the Historic Roses Group, Maurice was awarded the Victoria Medal of Honour (VMH) by the RHS in 2011 for his services to British horticulture. Over the past fifty years he has established the White House Farm Garden and Arboretum in Kent, and now directs its charitable foundation. He was the first recipient of the Jim Gardiner Magnolia Cup, and in 2019 was awarded the David Trehane Camellia Cup from the RHS RCM Group.

  • Maurice Foster VMH

Chris Sanders

Chris (who claims to still be a student) studied horticulture at Pershore College in Worcestershire in the 1960’s, subsequently gaining his RHS Master of Horticulture degree in 1969. He has spent most of his working life in the hardy nursery stock industry, firstly with John Hill & Sons, Spot Acre Nurseries in N Staffordshire from 1966-1982 as General Manager and Director, before joining John Ravenscroft at the renowned Bridgemere Nurseries, Nantwich, Cheshire as Production Director. He was made an Associate of Honour by the RHS in 1999 for his services to horticulture. He retired in 2002.

Chris is a long-standing member of the RHS Woody Plant Committee and for many years was responsible for their woody trials. He is also a member of NATAG (Nomenclature and Taxonomy Advisory Group) and an RHS judge at Chelsea and other major shows. In 2014 he was awarded the Society’s Victoria Medal of Honour. During his career he has travelled widely in search of plants in The Himalaya, China, Tibet, Japan and South Africa. His wide experience and knowledge of hardy plants, especially trees and shrubs, should prove invaluable in his role as a trustee of WHFAF.

Chris Lane

Christopher Lane lives near Sittingbourne in Kent where he runs Witch Hazel Nursery, propagating and growing woody plants, mostly produced by grafting. He has five National Plant Collections, maintained on the Nursery. Namely Hamamelis, Wisteria, Amelanchier, Parrotia, and Prunus (Flowering Cherries). Has worked in professional horticulture all his life, in nurseries as a propagator and at management level. He taught Nursery Stock Production at Hadlow College in Kent, first as an Instructor, then as a Lecturer. he served at Committee level for the Great Britain and Ireland region of the International Plant Propagators Society (IPPS), becoming President (1990-1991) and International President in 1995.

A member of the RHS Woody Plant Committee since 2009, he is currently vice chair with responsibility for Awards of Garden Merit (AGM). As well as many magazine and journal articles, he has written a monograph on Witch Hazels (2005, Timber Press) and is co-author of Wisterias, the Complete Guide (RHS publication). He is the recipient of several awards including the IPPS Rose Bowl Award in 1993, the RHS Veitch Memorial Medal in 2012, the Robert Garner Award for Plant Propagation in 2013) and the Plant Heritage Brickell Award for excellence in cultivated plant conservation in 2014.

Jack Aldridge

Jack is Head of the Wild Garden at RHS Garden Wisley, where his day-to-day remit involves managing 4.5 acres of woodland garden that is home to an exciting collection of trees & shrubs along with an understory of perennials & bulbs. He was employed there full-time as a horticulturalist immediately after graduating from the prestigious two-year Wisley Diploma in 2022. He is already known to many in the hardy woody plants world, including the International Dendrology Society, for whom is currently an author for Trees & Shrubs Online, researching and preparing new text for various genera, e.g. Cornus. White House Farm counts itself one of the most fortunate gardens in England to have him as a trustee. He is currently guiding the updating, logging and labelling of the WHF collections.

Clare L. E. Foster, Maurice’s daughter, is Chair of the board of trustees of the White House Farm Arboretum Foundation (WHFAF). She maintains the database and website, documents the collection, helps organise WHF events and runs the WHF Volunteers group. A writer and filmmaker, Clare has taught at Cambridge, Harvard, UCL, and UCLA. Maurice’s other daughter, Charlotte Foster, local garden historian Sally Berkeley, and financial advisor James Chatten complete the WHFAF board.

Friends of White House Farm

is the community of plantspeople, horticulturalists, garden societies and gardening members of the public who have already visited WHF, and those who would like to visit in the future. Get in touch here to become a Friend (it’s free) – i.e. to register your interest in visiting and receive news about open days, study days and other events at WHF.

The WHF Volunteer Group

WHFAF operates a volunteer group from March to October for those living locally who would like to become part of White House Farm and get to know the garden across its different seasons. We hold weekly Afternoon Gardening Teas: light outdoor gardening tasks such as weeding and pruning followed by tea and a walk-round. To join the WHF Volunteers email Clare here.